San Sebastian 2022: industry trends, highlights, offers

The 70th San Sebastian has completed its final turn with new deals announced for Spain by A Contracorriente, Bteam and Avalon, rejoicing among industry players at the first full on-site festival, blessed with early autumn sunshine, feeling an even slower international sales business.

Likewise, the Spanish market and production sector remain on the rise, fueled by breakthroughs in art house and the production of vibrant drama series. Five takeaways from the San Sebastian festival, which ends tomorrow, September 24:

San Sebastian is rising (again)

“There are markets that improved during COVID-19 and others that didn’t, and San Sebastian is a festival that has improved thanks to its industry performance,” says Film Factory’s Vicente Canales. This building came from afar: in 2002 the Films in Progress project was launched, in 2012 the European and Latin American co-production forum, in 2017 the Ikusmira Berriak residence, and now the creative investors conference.

There is a form of cross-matching here. Competitive films can be either hot or cold. The 40 titles, often completely unknown, brought to market by these four industries guarantee something of interest to producers and distributors who also decide where their most popular films will premiere.

“On an industry level, there are more and more things going on here, and it’s very exciting for me to be in San Sebastian,” said Ivan Diaz of Filmax, head of international at Filmax, which sells Cesc Gay’s Stories That Will Not Be comedy ensemble. Spoke,” which premiered Thursday at the San Sebastian Festival as part of the RTVE Gala.

The sales business is slowing down (even more)

“There has been a race for Netflix among streamers, and now people are recognizing that this is not necessarily the best business model,” said Trevor Groth of 30West. “So now there is a pause. I think there will be a rollback back to theatrical distribution and exhibitions.” This pause, however, coupled with uncertainty about when adult audiences will return en masse to theaters, seems to be hurting sales business for the time being. French sales agents, who often use San Sebastian to announce the first hot ticket sales for Venice and Toronto, looked especially talked about.

…. But there was business

“San Sebastian is a launching pad, not a market for deals,” says Antonio Saura of Latido Films, noting that he has no intention of selling Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s hot film As Bestas, which Le Pacte opened to 316,000 screenings, to the world. admissions in France totaled about $2 million or more at the box office before the release of Ventana Sur in late November. So in San Sebastian, in general, there are two ways: sales agents collect ads, especially in the run-up to the event; co-production agreements as manufacturers look to manufacturing partners to offset increasingly complex international markets with more artistic packaging. The only exception to this slowdown is Spain. Encouraged by the exceptional box office performance of event art films – Alcarraz, Lullaby – key players have closed deals in San Sebastian or announced bold distribution moves.


* Distribution rights in Spain for the long-awaited film “Cerrar los ojos” by the legendary Spanish director Victor Erice (“Hive Spirit”) were acquired by the company Avalon Audiovisual Distribution, whose credits include Alcarraz. The film is slated for release next year. Produced by Tandem Films, Pecado Films and Nautilus.

*Energetic Spanish distributor-manufacturer Bteam pictures signed with Film Factory the Spanish rights to Colombian Laura Mora’s “Kings of the World”, the world premiere competition in San Sebastian and part of Toronto’s “Industry Favorites” section.

*Contraoriente Films bought the Spanish rights to Cuban’s Pavel Giroud’s Hispanic Horizon’s The Padilla Case, co-produced by Spain’s Ventú Productions and Lea Rodriguez in Cuba and sold to Figa Films.

*The international distribution rights to Petr Václav’s lavish historical film Boemo, which had its world premiere in the main competition, were acquired by the Parisian Loko Filmswho also lashed out at “Woman in the Sea”, the San Sebastian-based New Directors big name from the Paris Slot Machine (“Melancholy”).

*Walls Can Talk, the latest film by Spaniard Carlos Saura (Raising the Ravens, Deprisa, Deprisa, Carmen) was acquired for deliberate sale by the company Latido Films. Produced by Malvalanda (Madre, Mole Agent) and distributed in Spain by Wanda Vision, the film had its world premiere at the RTVE Gala.

*Madrid-based Latido has also acquired the rights to sell the documentary Tequila, Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll by Goya Award-winning director-producer Alvaro Longoria.

*Film Factory Entertainment lashed out at Roger Zanui’s documentary “Mibu Moon in a Sauce” which opened up the Culinary Zinema sidebar. He also acquired the worldwide distribution rights to El Otro Hijo, the feature-length debut of Colombian film artist Juan Sebastian Quebrada.

*indie sales won an international spot in Emad Alebrahim Dehkordi’s feature debut The Tale of Shemrun, debuting in New Directors. The film will be released in France via Jour2Fête.

* Danish International Sales and Aggregation LevelK starred in the Oscar-winning British immigration drama “Great Yarmouth: Preliminary Data” by award-winning Portuguese director Marco Martins, which was the world premiere of the main competition.

*Emiliano Torres “Ron” one of the most famous of the 14 films selected at the European-Latin American Co-Production Forum in San Sebastian, Italian Emanuele Crialese (L’immensità) teamed up to produce with Argentina’s Nicolás Gil Lavedra.

* Ulises Porra “Bajo el Mismo Sol” On the eve of the festival, Pucará Cine from Argentina signed the first co-production contract with lead producer Wooden Boat Productions from the Dominican Republic.

*Vega Cine from Buenos Aires and Gualicho Cine from Córdoba, Argentina are teaming up. “The whole world,” from Agustin San Martin, leader of a new generation of Latin American female filmmakers.

*The French company Cité Films has joined us. “Fire Doll” from Chilean Niles Atallah (“Rey”) and “The Leftovers” from San Sebastian Gold Shell winning Turkish director Yesim Ustaoglu (“Pandora’s Box”).

Fashion films

One day before Saturday’s prizes, Fernando Franco’s offbeat sexual emancipation story The Rite of Spring was the clear winner among local scribes, followed by Miquel Gurrrea’s Suro, an exploration of contemporary labor relations, and Pilar Palomero’s teen drama of motherhood. “La Maternal” tie-in to Hong Sansoo’s highly popular four-part Toronto premiere of “Walk Up”. International critics again favored “La Maternal” and “Walk Up” (see Variety reviews), as well as “Il Boemo”, “Great Yarmouth” and “Daughter of Rage”. One thing is certain. The San Sebastian Award, which is now the only acting performance, would be extremely difficult to call creditable performance of several female roles such as “Mother”, “Daughter” and “Yarmouth”.

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